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Sammy Ekpenyong Exits Gloriously

By Edidiong Albert



The scene convoked the passage of a man who was of admirable status; a media prodigy and a community leader, the late Mr. Udeme Samuel Ekpenyong.

The atmosphere at the funeral service on Friday, November 15, 2019 conducted by the Delightful Christian Church International, Uyo was soaked in splendour.

The clement weather effectively gave Nto Obio Imo, Ikot Okusung, a serene community in Ukanafun Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, home of the deceased, a colourful mode to welcome an unprecedented crowd of people.

From far and near, dignitaries; cutting across all walks of life and led by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, his deputy, Mr. Moses F. Ekpo, MFR, the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Bassey ably represented by his deputy, Princess Felicia Bassey, the Chief Judge of Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Justice Godwin Abraham, the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, and others joined the bereaved family led by Hon. Udo Ekpenyong, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, to bid farewell to late Sammy Ekpenyong.

Other dignitaries were the National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Umaru Ibrahim Tsauri, CON; National Legal Adviser, of PDP, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem; Senator Bassey Albert, Senator Chris Ekpenyong, Senator Akon Eyakenyi – representing Akwa Ibom North East, Akwa Ibom North West and Akwa Ibom South respectively as well as other past and present members of the National Assembly.

Also at the funeral service were paramount rulers and other classes of traditional rulers led by the Oku Ibom Ibibio, His Eminence, Nteyin (Dr.) Solomon D. Etuk, chairmen of local government councils in Akwa Ibom State, religious leaders, captains of industries, party chieftains of PDP and APC, amongst others.

The late Mr. Udeme Samuel Ekpenyong, popularly known as “Sammy Ekpenyong” was born on February 4, 1948 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Frank Ekpenyong of Nto Obio Imo, Ikot Okusung, Ukanafun Local Government Area. He was the first child in the family.

While in secondary school, precisely at Saint Augustine Secondary School, Urua Inyang, Ika Local Government Area. Sammy, as a very talented and intelligent student, brought honours to the school through Sports and School Challenge.

According to his biography, his flair for writing and exceptional performance in Arts, had earned him an appointment by the school authorities as the Editor-in-Chief of the school’s magazine called, “The Lumen.” This position was reserved for only the best brains of the school.

It stated, “A man of impeccable taste, Sammy was noted for his neatness, politeness and pragmatism. His mien, speech and resourcefulness attracted him to various organisations in the school. His sterling and proven leadership qualities earned him the position of a Cottage Prefect at Saint Augustine Secondary School, Urua Inyang.”

He later proceeded in 1977 to the prestigious Institute of Radio and Television Production College, West Bessborough, London, to study Television Production and Broadcasting. He also attended in-service Training Courses in Television Directing at Television College, Jos.

He had as career in teaching at Mcintre Commercial School, Abak, Buguma Secondary School, Buguma and Federal Teachers’ Training College, Ndele, Ahoada in Rivers State.

In 1981, he was employed by the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, as a Programme Officer and was posted to NTA Channel 9, Calabar, Cross River State and served meritoriously in various departments and contributed immensely to the growth of the organisation.

“As an outstanding Television producer, who specialised in Documentary programmes, his works exposed him to all the nooks and crannies of the country, especially, the Eastern States of Nigeria. His dexterity, creative imagination and attention to details carved a niche for him in the profession. He was the producer of a popular Television Programme on NTA 9, Just-For-Two – a household programme that projected NTA 9 to the world.

“In 1993, he voluntarily resigned from Public Service as a Senior Producer to start his personal business. He registered his private Television Outfit Entertainment Broadcasting Network, (EBN), with the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, (NBC), to operate a private Radio and Television outfit in 1995. Through EBN, he promoted Akwa Ibom State projects, entertainments and cultural heritage of successive administrations,” the biography enumerated.

The late Mr. Udeme Ekpenyong who is survived by wife, children transited on June 19, 2019. And as Williams Shakespeare rightly said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They, have their exists, and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.”


Offering his condolences at the funeral service, the State Governor, Mr. Emmanuel prayed God to avert further affliction by preserving members of the family to full ripe age. The governor, who particularly consoled with Udo Ekpenyong, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, described him as a dependable partner, praying God Almighty to grant the bereaved family the fortitude to bear the loss. He announced a N5 million support to the church to aid its development in memory of the late Sammy Ekpenyong.

Gov Emmanuel also used the opportunity to speak on government plans to support the youths who embraced the amnesty programme. According to him, skills acquisition centres will be built in two local government areas soon for them to learn trades and contribute meaningfully to the development of the society.

“I want to inform the youths that very soon the Skill Development Centre will be reconstructed for those we are rehabilitating out of Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo. Please, all of them promised me that I will not hear any issue in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo; let me not hear of any negative problem again,” the governor said.

Emmanuel thanked the youths for embracing peace and cautioned that the long arm of the law would catch up with any youth or group attempting under any guise to breach the peace after the pardon.

He announced that his wife, Dr. (Mrs.) Martha, is reconstructing 100 stalls in Akpan Assiek Market in Ukanafun LGA to an ultra-modern one, lamenting that the crisis thwarted the development in the area. “My wife had started the reconstruction of Urua Akpan Assiek for the women. I want to believe they will give peace a chance. We are going to make a minimum of 100 lock-up stalls for the women in that market including toilets and water. We are going to remodel that market that was burnt down by some aggrieved youths,” he added.

Preaching on the topic Come, follow Jesus and Allow the Dead to Bury the Dead, Pastor (Barr.) Umoh Umoh, of Delightful Christian Church International, Uyo, admonished Christians to emulate Jesus Christ and warned against the dangers of rejecting salvation which could lead to spiritual death.

Umoh, said emulating Jesus Christ was an uphill task which comes with challenges a Christian must overcome, adding that “the cardinal objective of Christianity centres on living an exemplary life as Judgment Day awaits every person.”

In his tribute to his late brother, Hon. Udo Ekpenyong, said the family members learnt a lot from the deceased. “We learn a lot from your life and will always be very proud of you. We salute you dear brother” adding that he “lifted the name of our family to a great height. Although you are gone, the Almighty God will continue to be with us and we shall keep the flag flying.”

The state deputy governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo, MFR, described the late Sammy Ekpenyong as one who belonged to a “generation of thoroughbred broadcast media professionals whose commitment to the profession was driven more by passion for the job than the lure of money.”


“As a communications specialist and broadcast media icon, it was indeed a gesture of patriotism that Sammy had devoted his private television production outfit, Entertainment Broadcasting Network, EBN, to the development of Akwa Ibom State by adding value to the socio-economic and political aspirations of the state,” he stated, adding that the “passage of this distinguished son of Akwa Ibom and charismatic media veteran, is indeed, a sad and painful one.”

In his appreciation, the chief mourner, Mr. Anietie Udeme Ekpenyong thanked Governor Udom Emmanuel and wife, the State Executive Council, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, the ALGON, royal fathers, the political class, the church and others who supported them in various ways throughout their moment of grief.

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